Wednesday, July 15, 2009

DIY Wednesday: Wooden Signs

Hi!

It's time for another DIY Wednesday. This week I'm featuring another blog (and fellow crafty nestie) I can't live without, Jannypie. As you can see with previous posts as well as my Flickr pictures, I have attempted the oh so trendy wooden sign. I bought my first sign in Florida a few years ago and then I got my second as a wedding gift, all the while I was thinking to myself, why can't I do this? It's a piece of wood, painted with a cute phrase. I can certainly come up with a cute interesting phrase, tracking down wood is easy enough…now how to get those letters on the wood?
Well, the first couple attempts…not so good. My first one, I just free handed the phrase on to the frame of a bulletin board. Not good. Not only did it look like a second grader may have done it, the colors were all wrong. I decided that I loved the various fonts I had downloaded and wanted those fonts on the wood rather than my own chicken scratch. How oh how do you do that? I attempted to print the font on to card stock, use an exact-o knife to create a stencil, then use the stencil method. Well that worked for three signs, but the process was extremely long and the paint bled under the homemade stencils. (Phrases I've used for signs in case you need some ideas, "I live for the nights I can't remember, with the friends I can't forget" "We believe in Santa Paws" "Be Thankful" and the very clever "Fall")

Why couldn't I have found Jannypie sooner? On her fabulous blog, she explains a much MUCH easier way of doing it. (Click here for the tutorial) Carbon paper! Why did I not know about this wonderful thing? I found it at Hobby Lobby right by the paint supplies. (In our store, it was the same aisle as the stretched canvas). You just have to print out the desired font in the size you want and use the transfer paper to get it on the wood. I could have saved hours of cutting myself with an exact-o knife if I had just gone to the internet.
Forever and a day ago I picked up some ribbon boards (you know, the kind you stick pictures in between the ribbon) for a couple of bucks at Hobby Lobby. Now, when I actually get motivated, I might be able to do some fabulous work as well, all thanks to Jannypie!

You’ve seen this before, but here is my own personal successful sign (done the hard way):





Thursday, July 9, 2009

Paperback Swap!

Paperback Swap

I have always had a bit of a reading “problem.” I have devoured books since I was in second grade and read my first “Sweet Valley Kids” book. I spent a large majority of my childhood hiding under my covers and reading with a flashlight long after my bedtime. My love of fiction has yet to subside, even while in law school. I certainly slowed down my casual reading since I started law school (all those law books bog down my reading time), but I haven’t stopped. I still read the last Harry Potter in one night.

I recently went to the eye doctor to get new glasses. I got my current pair two years ago, so it was about time to get a new prescription. However, I came to learn that my eyes had degraded at an alarming rate since starting law school. Not only did my prescription increase, but I now have added reading glasses to my repituar. Does this stop me from reading? Absolutely not. Just to be defiant, I got a Barnes and Noble membership the next day.

I have kept most of the books I have purchased over the years. I just can’t find it in myself to throw away something I’ve spent money on and only read once. However, I know I don’t really reread books. So, this presents quite a problem. Many books, but absolutely no intention of reading them again.

Periodically I’ve thought about trying to sell them locally or on half.com or even breakdown and give them away, but I know no one would pay much for them or love them as much as I do. I’ve heard a few people mention this website, paperbackswap.com, and I decided to take a look.

It’s like reading addict heaven! First, you add your books to their already large catalog of books. Other members look through the lists and can ‘buy’ a book with credits. As a member, you get a credit for every book you send out. So, send a book out and shop for another title. It’s free except for the postage to send out books. I immediately joined and then discovered audiobooks are also on the website! I’ve been listening to audiobooks all summer when I do my four hour commute on the weekends. Granted they ‘cost’ two credits, but I have plenty to ‘sell.’
So, I am just waiting to go home this weekend and put all those books online. What will I do will all the extra space? I could put some pictures on the shelves. Or maybe a nice candle. Well…I’ll probably just put more books on it, but at least now the scenery will change periodically. Now I just have to figure out what books I want to read next……I have been wanting to read the Sookie Stackhouse books

Monday, July 6, 2009

DIY Wednesday: Photo Backdrops

DIY Wednesday: Photography Muslin Backdrops

Hello There!

Finally, a project I’ve actually done! As you may have noticed, I do photography as a hobby in addition to my various craft things. I have been collecting photography supplies for 6 years now and have quite the collection of things for various hobbies. (I have been told by my husband I’m not allowed to pick up any more hobbies beyond the ones I have, since I usually feel the need to go and buy all the cool accessories that go with the hobby…but I have been playing around with the idea of learning to decorate cakes…)

One of the first things I purchased after my first 35 mm camera in high school was three backdrops. I got all three off E-Bay. I was back from my first year of college for the summer and spent all summer tutoring a neighbor in algebra just to pay for these stupid things.

If you know anything about backdrops, the good ones are obscenely expensive. I mean…seriously expensive (just Google muslin backdrop sometime). The ones I got off E-bay were cheap for a reason. I got this completely useless neon yellow and red one and a “muslin” backdrop that was supposed to be a smoky grey. It was instead a badly faded clearly homemade grey backdrop. (Probably with RIT dye I would come to discover)

Well, I’ve never used these stupid things. The three backdrops are quite pointless. They are too bright for any practical picture. (but in my youth I didn’t know what I was doing…well, to be honest, I still don’t for the most part…)

So, I’ve thought about buying a nice muslin backdrop for a while, but I just can’t bring myself to do it for two reasons. 1) I don’t take much indoor photography. 2) The type of photography I take inside doesn’t really need the look of a muslin backdrop. I have two seamless backdrops (black and white) and they work great. The money I would use on a backdrop is better spent a 101 other things.

So, last summer I was quite bored and decided to see if I could create my own backdrops. I really think it was more for the challenge than actual necessity. I found this tutorial on DIY Photography. It was pretty instructive. I tried using RIT dye and the backdrops were serious blah. The colors wash out pretty bad and there isn’t anything really pretty any of them. (I should note that I used king size bed sheets instead of muslin just because I don’t have a fabric store in the near vicinity)

So, I decided to try my own method. I went to the store and got random spray paint. (Pink, Purple, Metallic Bronze, Tan, Light Purple). I then soaked the sheet. I was hoping that the color would blend better if the sheet was wet and I would avoid a sharp spray paint line. I laid the sheet out on my driveway and spray painted it. With some of the sheets, I bunched up the sheet before spray painting in order to add some dimension to the sheet. A couple others I tried to create that look on my own by applying more or less paint. After I was done with one color, I hung dry the sheet on my clothesline and then tried adding a different color with the same process.

Here are the results: I did several color combinations. Some I like and some are just plain ugly. Keep in mind some of these had color left over from the stupid RIT dye. A few of the sheets were actually twin sheets I had laying around the house. I figured I may as well try out the colors before I purchased more paint and another sheet. I figure I can use them for kids and babies.

The Good:
Pink (I believe it was called ‘ballet slipper’) and Purple: I figure this would be good for a little girl.



Red with a splash of brown mixed in (This one turned out much better than the neon red one I already have)




Not Pictured: Metallic bronze and brown (This one looks absolutely fabulous in person, but when you photograph it, it loses some of it’s luster)

The Not So Good:
Tan and Blue (okay, so the tan is from the RIT dye. I didn’t know what to add with it, so this poor sheet got blue. I feel bad for it)




Not Pictured: Plain Purple (it’s not particularly bad, but it’s not really interesting either)

Even though I have these backdrops and wouldn’t mind photographing someone in front of them, I still haven’t used them beyond forcing my dogs to model. I think I’m safe never buying an actual expensive muslin backdrop. I’d rather get accessories for my new digital SLR.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

DIY Wednesday: Modern Quilting

Hello Everyone,

I thought I should get back on the DIY Wednesday band wagon. Until I have my own projects, I'm going to feature projects from other blogs. I get most of my ideas from these blogs, so it's only smart to give you the direct link to them. I'd suggest you add them to a feedburner or a favorite file on your browser. You will definitely be visiting these blogs more than once!

The "Kaleidoscope" quilt by Film in the Fridge (http://www.filminthefridge.com/) is one of my favorite projects I can't wait to actually try-out. I have been thinking about taking up quilting for a while now, but the lingo and new tools are quite intimidating. (As you saw in a previous post, I bought a book to help with learning the trade) This particular quilt design however involves paper piecing which is basically the best thing ever. Film in the Fridge features a great tutorial. It literally makes the idea of quilting go from crazy hard to fairly simple. Plus, since my style is modern country (I was told this on HDTV the other day. I love modern and traditional Midwest country pieces mixed together) the sewing projects on Film in the Fridge's blog are perfect. You get the old world charm of quilts, but the colors and shapes are modern. Perfect for a 20-something quilter. And yes, contrary to my husband's thought on the matter, there are other 20-something quilters in the world.
Here’s the tutorial for this fun quilt: http://www.filminthefridge.com/2009/04/27/a-string-quilt-block-tutorial-paper-pieced-method/


Picture from Film in the Fridge: http://www.filminthefridge.com/